Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

State Government Leadership Foundation

Posted: March 23, 2011
Updated: January 16, 2014

Estimated Spending: $50,000

This Virginia-based group has the same contact information and address as the Republican State Leadership Committee. The foundation claims to be a social welfare organization that sponsors issue ads to educate and support state and local officeholders.

The foundation did not get involved in Wisconsin politics until March 2011 when it sponsored a phony issue ad against Democratic Senator Jim Holperin of Conover. The group’s 30-second television ad criticized Holperin for refusing to show up and work to solve Wisconsin’s multi-billion dollars budget deficit and high unemployment. “Call Senator Holperin. Tell him Wisconsin can’t get back to work until he does,” the ad says.

Holperin was among 14 Democratic senators who left the state in mid-February for nearly a month in a failed effort to prevent the Republican-controlled Senate from voting on a plan by GOP Governor Scott Walker to end most public employee collective bargaining rights.

Walker’s plan ignited weeks of protests by tens of thousands of state and local public employees and their supporters at the State Capitol as well as negative broadcast ads and recall efforts against 16 Democratic and Republicans senators by outside special interest groups.